Monthly Archives: May 2011

Arashi and the Hyakunin Isshu

Lately, I’ve been enjoying a certain Arashi single called “Dear Snow” quite a bit. You can see a video for it here among other places on the Intertubes. It’s quite a good song. My wife said it was used as … Continue reading

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Homonyms in Japanese

Recently, while reading Tae Kim’s excellent article about Kanji, he addressed the question about the usefulness of kanji in Japanese language. One might ask, why such a convoluted system (2 alphabets + kanji)? As Tae Kim explains, the kanji help … Continue reading

Posted in Japanese, JLPT, Language | 6 Comments

Buddhism: Donating more than just money

“Then he [The Medicine King Bodhisattva] put on many kinds of incense—sandalwood, kunduruka, turushka, prikka, aloes and resin incense—and drank the fragrant oil of gardenia and other kinds of flowers for fully twelve hundred years. With his body anointed with … Continue reading

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Confucianism: standing up for what’s right

Lately I’ve been mulling over this quotation from the Analects of Confucius (trans. by Prof. Charles A. Muller): [15:7] Confucius said: “The Historiographer Yu was truly of straight character. When the government was just, he was like an arrow. When … Continue reading

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The “gaijin” myth

For some reason, the notion of “foreigner” in Japanese culture is really fascinating to foreigners. So much so, that Wikipedia has an entry on it. You can also find plenty of blogs where foreigners living in Japan feel excluded or … Continue reading

Posted in Japan, Travel | 7 Comments

Teru Teru Bozu

As the weather has been especially miserable this year in Seattle, my wife and daughter decided one afternoon to make some teru teru bōzu to make the rain go away: Teru Teru Bozu are very easy to make: take one … Continue reading

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Breaking Habits the Buddhist Way

Lately, I re-read Rev. Tagawa’s book on Yogacara (Hossō) Buddhism as translated by Professor Muller. Chapter Five delves into the cycle of “seeds” perfurming the mind, which in turn lead to thoughts and actions that generate more seeds. Here “seeds” … Continue reading

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Omikuji Fortunes

Tourists who come to Japan, and see Buddhist temples or Shinto shrines will often seen small fortune-telling boxes called omijikuji (おみくじ). There are various ways of drawing a fortune, such as drawing sticks out of a box, or pulling folded … Continue reading

Posted in Japan, Religion, Shinto, Travel | 6 Comments

Part Two: particles in Japanese

Recently, as a self-review of Japanese language, I’ve been reading Tae Kim’s excellent Guide to Japanese (now on iPhones as a free app), and I was struck by a comment in one section about sentence order. He argues near the … Continue reading

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Teaching Children to use Chopsticks

Parenting is a fun topic, but even more interesting when you consider multi-cultural parenting. I learned to use chopsticks in high-school at a local sushi/teriyaki restaurant (I ended up working there later), but until then I had never encountered them … Continue reading

Posted in Family, Japan | 8 Comments